Carl Simmons is a musician no one has heard of, from a place that the world has almost entirely written off. Simmons released a miniscule edition of cassette tapes on his own Unconscious Piano Productions imprint. To say his music was poorly distributed is an understatement. It was handed out to friends, and perhaps sold at various open mic nights, where he would sometimes pass off his own songs as Bob Dylan tunes to an unsuspecting audience.
Incorporating numerous collage elements—and very few guitar strings—Simmons weaves in and out of song in a spacey wash of psychedelic imagery by way of nursery rhymes and fairytales. Owing influence to writers like Lewis Carroll, and filmmakers like Herzog and Lynch, as much as any musical influence, Carl’s music can have something of a cinematic feel. Though perhaps best classified under the floppy umbrella of “outsider” musicians, Simmons creates remarkably complex arrangements using a staggeringly simple arsenal of instruments: a broken guitar, sound collage, and heavily layered vocal tracks filtered through an array of effects. Think Peter Grudzien reading mother goose, The Cheshire Cat conducting the Langley School Music Project, or Bob Dylan singing unknown lullabies with a head full of helium.